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Thread: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

  1. #1
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    .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    I've been kicking around the question lately if I should replace my trusty Bersa .380CC with .38 Special +P. There's a lot of hype out there that a wheel gun is more reliable and accurate than a semi-auto, but I think the real reason for a change is because I'm itching for a new dance partner. So, I stumbled across these two videos which compare the cartridges using a standard Bersa .380 and a popular S&W snubbie.

    This guy approaches the science of bullistics at about the same level as me: the proof's in the pudding, not the numbers. He makes the claim that the .380 ACP should have just as much oomph as the .38+P, so his hypothesis is that one caliber should be just as good as the other defensively. After shooting through water, wood and paper magazines, I believe he's sufficiently shown that the .380's power is a definite maybe over the bigger cartridge.

    Therefore, I'm keeping the Bersa until the Princess, through her superior scientific reasoning, believes that I need a new gun.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUe_sgb3hWw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHOzG17Qnc8
    Last edited by gun sane; 07-18-2018 at 08:17 PM.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    Add to that, the availability of the 15+1 Bersa .380 Plus, the .380 definitely holds the edge over a 6 or 7 round revolver. Suggestion: Your next pistol may be the Plus? It'll even carry in the same holster as your CC!
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    In my opinion- which ain't worth much- the Bersa Thunder Plus is the best deal for an all around carry gun on the market. And it you think you need a slightly smaller footprint- the standard Thunder 380 fits the bill, and the CC is even smaller....and STILL a find defense piece.
    I am not anti-9mm (or larger) at all..... I do carry larger 9mm handguns in winter. Lately my favorite is a Canik C-100 imported by Tristar. It is a clone of the CZ 75 compact, and a fine carry shooter.
    However, for most any civilian, living in a civilian environment..... Bersa Thunder 380 from the CC to the Plus... will cover most any need well.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    I have carried 1911's of various sizes for several years. I have used my BT380 or BT380 Plus for a backup or when I wanted something lighter or more concealable. Then Sue picked a S&W 642. I thought it was okay but I never cared much for wheel guns. I shot it a bit and then I decided to try carrying it and when I got a cheap holster that was easy to clip on and comfortable it became my BUG. Then I bought a Performance Center 637 because I like hammer guns, then I picked up an old Model 60 all steel used from the Michigan Gun Owners marketplace. I started carrying the Model 60 quite a bit and the 637 a little bit.... then I got another holster and I started carrying both and leaving the 1911's home. Oh, and I picked up a 640, 2" 357 a couple of weeks ago for a good price on MGO forum, and a 3" Model 60 in 357 from GunBroker. I got a bit of range practice with J-Frames including the 357's last week and I carried the 3" for the first time tonight after I modified a holster to accommodate the adjustable rear sight. And I had the 1 7/8" Model 60 for backup. Carrying the J-Frames appendix and or cross draw and it is working well.

    I also like the J-Frames for walking the yard at night loaded with shot shells. I usually have shot shells in Sue's 642 since she doesn't carry.

    Do I feel undergunned with the 38 specials? No. 2 guns, 10 rounds. In a close up fight I hope I'm okay and I don't plan to be taking any long shots with them.... well I haven't tried the 3" with sights for long range but I will. I have shot my BT380 out to 65 yards and popped a 20 lb propane tank fairly regularly.

    Do I plan to put 357 rounds in the 640 or 3"? Nope..... only if I'm walking in the woods and expect to see a bear..... and if I expect to see a bear for darn sure I WON'T be walking in the woods!

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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    Love me my wheel guns. 442, 640, 36, 38, 66, Model 10... they’re beautiful, for my hand like a dream, and shoot shoot shoot (shoot shoot, reload).

    442 rides in my pocket every hour I’m in uniform and whenever I’m putzing around the yard

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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    I too have a special liking for revolvers. At present, I only have one, the Ruger 3" LCR 38spl +P. "Very accurate", the SA trigger is very light, almost too light for my liking. DA trigger is around 5-6 pds. Only negative is a 5 round cap. Never underestimate the 38spl +P HP round. But of course my Bersa 9UC is my #1 overall hand gun. 8 years of hundreds of rounds through it, and it's still GTG.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    I like a good revolver as well. I have a S&W 629 6" 44 mag and a shoulder holster for it, Wife has a S&W 642 performance center in 38 special, and there is a Taurus 22 mag. All are fun to shoot.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    442 here with DeSantis Clip grip

    https://www.desantisholster.com/clip-grip/

    load with the newer self defense rounds that are designed to perform from shorter barrels

  9. #9

    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    Gentlemen, and Ladies present,
    My passion is collecting Colt Revolvers. But I recently purchased a pair of satin Bersa Thunder 380 Plus's with consecutive serial numbers for concealed carry and two of them because I have two boys that will inherit them.
    But IMO you haven't enjoyed true accuracy until you've shot a 1957 Colt Officers Model Match 38. When you bought one of those back in the day you received an actual target showing the 5 shot grouping of that pistol at 15 yards. All OMM’s left the factory with a 5 shot grouping within the size of a quarter.
    Most Sincerely,
    elmersglue

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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    Sadly, I think Colt's rep has suffered a bit since then. 'Course, I have 3 of their 1911s & no issues with them. My wife, Marty, has a Colt 1911 9mm Lt Wt which we sent in for throwing cases back into her face & customer service was good, including them paying the freight both ways, so we have no complaint with them.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    I can't imagine the .380 ACP, carrying the same energy as a .38 Special +P. I mean, I have and carry both (and other calibers), but I guess I will have to look up the ballistics on that to know for sure.

  12. #12
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    apples to apples the BT CC 380 has a >3" barrel and the S&W has a <2" barrel, and projectile weights are different so you'd need to calc or gel block test each specifically for any kind of energy on target comparison. unfortunately Ballistics By The Inch doesn't have 38+P data

    http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com

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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    Any ballistics difference at 7 yards (self defense range) is negligible. It's all about how the gun feels in your hand when you shoot it. If it hurts it's not going to do much good and firing a small gun with a powerful round with a lot of kick hurts many people.
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    Re: .380 vs. 38 +P for Dummies

    also, the definition of barrel length is different between the two platforms, the semi-auto includes the entire cartridge within the defined length of the barrel while the revolver does not include any part of the cartridge length. effective barrel length of each measured by inserting a pen into the muzzle until it contacts the bullet is 2 1/16" for the S&W 442 and 2 11/16" for the Bersa Thunder 380. add or subtract accordingly for various different ammo, and factor in velocity loss for the flash gap in the S&W

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